‘Here Comes Washer’ Is Thoughtful Punk For A New Generation

Looking towards an uncertain future with the Brooklyn duo.

It’s lotto season in New York and everyone’s looking to win big. All week long, people have hit corner bodegas in hopes of scoring that winning ticket — but I’m feeling more lowkey. I’m at Washer drummer Kieran McShane’s Brooklyn apartment, hanging with a cat named Dogmeat and watching “Adventure Time,” when Mike Quigley enters with a case of beer and his very own (and perhaps lucky) lotto ticket.

Quigley plays guitar and bass and sings in Washer, a punk duo whose brilliant debut, Here Comes Washer, is out today (Jan. 22) on Exploding In Sound Records. We crack open the beer and discuss what we’d each do with the winning money.

“I’d pay off my student loans,” Quigley says without hesitation. McShane thinks for a moment before declaring, “I’d buy some arable land.” We order takeout before digging into the new record, and also talk tour — soon, they’ll hit the road with friends and fellow punks Big Ups — but on the whole, the band don’t have many “good” tour stories in their arsenal. The best they can muster is a tale of getting drunk and playing with some dogs at an artist loft in Philadelphia, but as Quigley admits, “There’s not really a story there. It was mostly just a nice time.”

Not that tour isn’t awesome — it’s just not what most people think. “You don’t really have time to get f–ked up and be irresponsible,” McShane says. “You have to be places on time. You can’t spend too much money. Then at the end of the day, you’re like, ‘Sh-t, I actually have to play now, too.’”

A week later, I hope I’m not spoiling much by revealing that, unfortunately, Quigley didn’t hit the jackpot. Still, there’s the matter at hand — Here Comes Washer — and the revelation that Washer couldn’t possibly have created a more winning debut; one that expertly analyzes fear, anxiety, being in love and being alone, offering its listener something relatable to “latch” onto (like the uneasy protagonists of the driving “Pet Rock Vs. Healing Crystal”). There’s the physicality of literally feeling alive (“I spit, I suck, I shake, and all my bones they break,” Quigley confesses on “Human”) and also the uncertainty of living, in a broader sense (“fear of the outside” on epic album opener “Eyelids”). There’s also the pressure of being a good person, of doing the right thing, and of working hard, even if you’re young, and still unsure of what you’re actually working towards.

Here Comes Washer is the human experience for a new generation; introspective and incredibly smart, a little confused, but never amiss.

Of course, in our talk, we didn’t just watch cartoons and daydream about imaginary riches — we touched upon all these topics, in a thorough discussion that helped define (and redefine) some of the things we’re all just trying to figure out.

MTV News: I recently saw a publication refer to Washer as “slack punk.” What do you think of the “slacker” label in general — would you say it applies to your sound?

Mike Quigley: I think that term stems from the inflection of the vocalist. When that description gets used, it’s when the vocalist talks, or sing-talks kind of monotone… although I have some real melodies, and the record has a lot of screaming. But slack-punk is kind of the [Stephen] Malkmus thing. Sounding kind of bored.

It’s kind of lazy on behalf of music writers.

Kieran McShane: We both have full time jobs.

MQ: Not only that, but we’ve also put out multiple releases in two years [of existence], we play shows a lot… but I think it’s really easy to just tag a genre to a band and then talk about the same things that everyone likes about that genre. It sucks because it’s not always true.

If you just listened to it and talked about the lyrics or the actual sound…

It’s like, “Oh, this band wants to stick it to The Man.” Exactly, everyone wants to stick it to The Man! Nobody wants to be The Man!

KM: I think The Man rules.

MTV News: Most “slacker” bands write extremely apathetic lyrics, but yours are pretty much the exact opposite. You seem to care a lot.

MQ: Yeah, I’d say the record’s pretty urgent.

It’s mostly about me trying to figure out how to be good. I think I’m very self-critical, and it comes across in the songs. Lyrically, it’s a lot of me trying to figure things out.

Embedded from w.soundcloud.com.